Purchasing a National Trust membership has been a brilliant investment. We only bought ours last month but we have already visited four places: Charlecote Park, Moseley Hall and Wightwick Hall and Gardens whilst glamping in Stratford-Upom-Avon and then more recently Dunham Massey. We have already had our moneys worth from the pass and have loved exploring new places and have loads more planned for later in the year. Below you can read our full review of Dunham Massey and I hope it helps you get the most out of your day of you do decide to visit.
Where is Dunham Massey?
Dunham Massey is in Altrincham, Greater Manchester. It is about 40 minutes from Chester and easily accessible using the motorway. It is one of the largest National Trust places in the North West.
Things to do at Dunham Massey?
Walks gardens deer pond climb trees planned activities Christmas light show tour the house cafe mill
Dunham Massey is lovely for walks. There are some nice paths that lead from the main reception area over a bridge and round a pond. You can then enter the main area through a turnstile where you will find the large deer park. This is great for exploring with the children. There are trees to climb and grass to run across and the deer roam free and get really close which is exciting to watch. In this area you will also find a mill that you can go in and explore as well as the main house.
The main house requires a ticket but if you are a national trust member then it is free. The house is very large and very beautiful and takes about 30-45 minutes to look round, although you could stay longer if you wanted to read everything and speak with the staff.
I looked around the house with my eldest who is 8 and he was given an activity sheet to do as we went round and he enjoyed looking for certain things with his magnifying glass. They definitely welcome children so don’t worry about taking the in with you.
In the Gallery you have the chance to watch a video about the main house and how it was used as a hospital during the war, which I found fascinating although bare in mind the video is not aimed at children and can be a bit gruesome. However, if you do want to watch the video and you have small children I would recommend you go to the far side of the room and watch it from there as there is also a dress up area that will keep the children entertained whilst you watch the short clip.
From here we wandered through another room that was full of outfits and jewellery and then found ourselves in the ward from when it was a hospital.
As with all the great National Trust houses they try and make them interactive and Dunham Massey is no different as here the children can touch some of the equipment and try their hand at applying bandages.
To the left of the main house is the entrance to the gated gardens, again you need a ticket for this but it is free for National Trust members. These gardens are beautiful and surround a large green area where we were lucky enough to listen to some live music that we weren’t expecting.
Top Tip – Apparently they often have entertainment on so check the website for special events in advance so you can plan your day around the advertised times.
Unlike some National trust places we didn’t find a park or tree house but the boys still had a good time exploring the area and watching the deer.
Eating and drinking
There are two cafe areas serving a variety of food and drink as well as an ice cream parlour which is a must on a hot day. There are a few benches dotted about but not many with tables but there is certainly enough grass space to lay out your pic nic blankets and enjoy your own food and drink if you wish.
Can you take dogs to Dunham Massey?
Yes, dogs are welcome at Dunham Massey and we took Buddy with us but there are a few rules you need to follow. There is a specific area to one side where dogs are welcome and are actually allowed off the lead, which we hadn’t seen at a National Trust place before. Once you pass through the main reception all dogs must then remain on the lead but there are lots of paths where they can be walked including around the deer park.
Dogs are not permitted in the house or in the main gardens, however these are both ticketed so you wont be able to accidentally walk into the gardens with your dog so feel free to wander where ever you want.
Overall review of Dunham Massey
As National Trust places go I would highly recommend a visit to Dunham Massey. It is suitable for the whole family, parking is free for National Trust members, and you could easily stay for at least half a day, longer if the weather is nice.
It is a great place to take the dog for a walk but do remember they are not allowed in the main gardens or house, so if you want to visit these for an event like live music you may need to leave the dog at home.
The ice creams are delicious so make sure you visit the ice cream parlour before you leave!
If you are planning a visit then I recommend you get the National Trust membership as it is well worth the money.
If you are looking for other National Trust places to visit then check out our round up of National Trust reviews for the whole country.